tags: , , , , , Press Releases

Kevin McCarthy Targets Immigrant Children at the Border, But Not the Domestic Terrorists Who Attacked the Capitol

Share This:

Reviews of his political stunt at the border are harsh

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and a GOP delegation went to the border yesterday, the day arrests were made in the death of a Capitol Hill policeman during the January 6th attack on the Capitol. The political nature of this border stunt is so obvious, and McCarthy’s overwrought statement that “terrorists are trying to cross the border into the United States via Mexico” is such a lie, that the reviews were rather harsh.

  • Rep. Veronica Escobar (D-TX), who represents the El Paso district where McCarthy led the delegation, tweeted, “Their immigration strategy is exactly the same thing as their Covid strategy. Do nothing. Just let people die. P.S. @GOPLeader stop using my community as your prop.” 
  • Former Republican strategist Stuart Stevens blasted McCarthy’s assertion that people from the “terrorist watch list” from “Yemen, Iran, and Turkey” are coming across the southern border, tweeting in response “More terrorists were hunting for Mike Pence on Jan 6th than have been caught on the border.” 
  • Democratic strategist Jen Palmieri noted, “R’s are handling border like COVID: tolerate Trump incompetence, then blame Biden, refuse to be part of solution.” 
  • Rep. Julian Castro (D-TX) tweeted in response to McCarthy, “In the last nine months of Trump’s presidency there was a 690% increase in unaccompanied minors encountered by CBP. There’s been a 61% increase under President Biden. How come we didn’t hear a peep from you until now?” 
  • NBC’s Jacob Soboroff on MSNBC yesterday noted: “It’s been frustrating as a reporter who covers this to watch Republicans go down there and talk about the so called Biden border crisis, use the children as political pawns… and advocating literally, absolutely nothing” 
  • Greg Sargent writes in the Washington Post: “The situation under former president Donald Trump was substantially worse from a humanitarian and a pragmatic governing perspective: Worse for the migrants, worse for the rule of law and worse for our country … Yes, these problems are hard to solve. But that’s the point: What’s hard is actually trying to solve them. Calling this a “crisis” outside that context is absurd…” 
  • Sabrina Rodriguez in Politico’s coverage of the McCarthy delegation wrote, “McCarthy’s delegation did not offer concrete policy solutions, however. Nor did they offer evidence to back up their claims. And officials and community leaders here insist their claims are alarmist and don’t accurately capture what’s happening here; Central Americans fleeing poverty and violence are the ones flocking to the border … Community leaders and Democrats here argue that Republicans are trying to manufacture a crisis that’s not there for political gain, as most migrants are still being kicked out and those being allowed to stay are being processed in El Paso in an orderly fashion.”

According to Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice:

It is stunning that Kevin McCarthy is posturing at the border in the ‘fight’ against migrant children fleeing violence when he couldn’t even stand up to the biggest threat to America — the violent white extremists who plundered his own Capitol and killed a Capitol policeman on January 6th. McCarthy and the Republican Party are playing politics rather than proposing solutions. They are desperate to stoke racialized fear and distract attention away from their own failures and abdication of duty. 

The GOP has been reaching for the xenophobic playbook in recent years. Let’s check the record. In 2020 Trump attacked Biden on immigration, and lost. In 2020, Republicans attacked Reps. Conor Lamb (D-PA) and Matt Cartwright (D-PA) on immigration, and lost. In 2019, Republicans attacked Democratic gubernatorial candidates in the red states of Louisiana and Kentucky on immigration, and lost. In 2018 midterms, Republicans attacked Democrats on immigration, and lost. In 2017, Ed Gillespie attacked Ralph Northam in the Virginia gubernatorial race on immigration, and lost. 

Nevertheless, crack political writers are claiming the Democrats might be in trouble because Republicans plan to run on immigration. Perhaps Republicans are turning to  racism and xenophobia because that’s all they have. They are not going to run on COVID relief and economic recovery. Every single one of them just opposed the American Rescue Plan.

Recommended Resources

  • New statement from DHS Secretary Mayorkas laying out the facts (read here) 
  • Must-view chart compiled by Aaron Reichlin-Melnick of the American Immigration Council showing how the current uptick fits into historical ebbs and flows. As he noted, it’s “a brief timeline of major changes at the border, showing attempts to block asylum seekers over the last eight years, to provide some context to those hysterically and very transparently shouting about a ‘Biden Border Crisis.’”